The exhibition “Frans Hals Portraits: A Family Reunion” reunites three fragments of the Portrait of the Van Campen family by master-painter Frans Hals (1582– 1666) for the first time in over 200 years, after the painting was separated at the beginning of the 19th century. The reunited masterpiece is joined by the other three family portraits that Frans Hals painted during his lifetime. This second reunion show the brilliancy with which the artist broke away from traditional conventions of the genre, setting new standards for Western art.
The exhibition came about as a result of the complete restoration of a painting from the collection of the KMSKB in 2016. The project revealed new insights in the work Three Children in a Cart Drawn by a Goat, as the painting was known prior to its renovation. The restoration confirmed that the artwork is in fact a fragment of a much larger family portrait. The removal of overpaints also allowed researchers to establish a precise link with two other fragments preserved in the Toledo Museum of Art (USA) and in a private collection. This allowed for the reconstruction of the original appearance of Hals’ earliest family portrait (around 1622-25).
This reconstruction is then confronted with the other three family portraits that Frans Hals painted later in his life, which were lent by the The National Gallery (London), the Museo Thyssen- Bornemisza (Madrid), and the Cincinnati Art Museum. After Brussels, the exhibition travels to the Fondation Custodia in Paris where it will open from 8 June to 25 august 2019.
Promotional video for the Brussels exhibition (6:35).